Monday, November 9, 2015

"Out of the Fire", my exhibition at Selwyn Gallery, Darfield!

Wednesday, 4 November
I hit the road late Wednesday afternoon, beginning what was to be a 757 kilometer (470 miles) round trip with a drive of about an hour to Oamaru, where I spent the night at my parent's place. It was very good to catch up with them, and removing an hour from next day's travel made good sense as I was physically and mentally tired after all the work on getting the pots made and fired, sorted and packed for the exhibition.

Thursday, 5 November
I decided to take the scenic inland route from Geraldine to Darfield. This road runs along the Eastern side of the Southern Alps and the slightly longer journey is more than compensated for by an easy road, with little traffic, and glorious views of mountains. I picked up this route by turning West off State Highway 1 at Winchester just North of Temuka, then driving the short distance to the very pretty town of Geraldine, where I stopped for refreshments and to stretch my legs.

I had planned to visit the McAtamney Gallery that is in the old post office building in Geraldine, but the gallery was shut. Happily, round the back of the old post office, Susan Badcock's Studio was open. Susan's father, John Badcock, turned out to be looking after the gallery at the studio that morning, and it was really delightful to catch up with him. John is a very accomplished painter, and I enjoyed meeting him years ago when I was still a painter myself. John paints mostly landscapes and people, and he likes to paint in front of his subject. You are far more likely to find John out on location somewhere, at work in front of an easel, slashing away at a canvas with thick oil paint, rather than cooped up in the comfort of a studio. I was really fortunate to meet John again like that as the following day he was to be in Hamilton in the North Island giving an artist's talk at the Waikato Museum to accompany his exhibition "Passing People", which is a fascinating collection 100 life sized portraits that he completed over the course of a year.

Not far out of Geraldine I began to get my first good views of the mountains, these were sharp, steep, and grey, with flanks dusted and highlighted by a fresh fall of snow.

I had to stop the van and take a photo with my smart phone!

I stopped for a bite to eat and some coffee at Staveley where there is a cafe, a village hall, and a few houses.

I parked the van close to a lovely pink waterfall of clematis that was giving a great show, in fact it looked so happy that I am sure it was singing a song to the sunshine, fresh air, wide open spaces, and the mountains near by!

A pleasant drive with mountain views took me through the early afternoon to the Rakaia Gorge. I had seen the Gorge before some 20 or more years ago, but had quite forgotten the magnificence and scale of it!

Rakaia Gorge looking West.
The road plunges down one side of it, a one lane bridge spans mountain fed opalescent turquoise water, and then the road twists and heaves its way out of the gorge. It is great fun!

Rakaia Gorge looking East.
I drove directly to the Selwyn Gallery when I arrived at Darfield, and unloaded my precious cargo of pots that were all packed in boxes for the journey. I was a bit nervous when I arrived at the gallery as I had never been there before and my only contact prior to this had been via Email, but I need not have worried, I was made most welcome by Judy, who was on duty there, and quickly felt at home. The gallery is a contemporary community gallery that is run by the Malvern Community Arts Council, the gallery has one part time paid administrator, and an army of volunteer staff. The main gallery space has enough room to show two exhibitions at a time, and there is a small gallery that has a selection of art and craft work. Such community galleries do a great deal to foster the arts in this country, and do a fantastic job on a very limited budget. They cannot exist without volunteer help, and community good will.

Ingrid and Judy hard at work behind the counter at the Selwyn Gallery.

Friday 6 November 9.30am.
The gallery began to hum with activity as two artists started to set up their shows, Judy Rogers (here is a link to her web site) with her fabric hangings and framed pictures at one end of the gallery, and myself at the other!

Judy Rogers, the other artist that was exhibiting, part way through a lengthy process of hanging her work.
Both of us received invaluable assistance from gallery volunteers, who made an impossible task, possible!

Most of my pots were displayed on plinths, and I had nightmares prior to setting up the exhibition, because I had 22 works, and it appeared that the gallery had only 8 plinths, but it all worked out in the end!

After filling all the plinths I still had 5 pots that needed a home, one of the volunteers, Terri, sped home and returned with a nice little rimu table and a beautiful white Damask table cloth that had belonged to her Great Grand mother (it might have been her Great, Great Grandmother, apologies if I have that wrong!).

The little table reminded me of a church alter set for communion, which suited the work very well, and I was very thankful for such such an elegant solution to a display problem!

Friday 6 Nov, 6pm. The exhibition opening!
When I sent out emails to let people know about the exhibition, I could not think of anyone who was really likely to come to the opening, as I know hardly anyone around Christchurch, however I did have a few replies to the emails (some of which I only found when I got home again!!). I was delighted to have family and friends and friendly clients turn up after all, it really made the evening very enjoyable and special for me, and I am very thankful for the support and encouragement.

Some of us went out for a meal after the opening, and we had a most excellent dinner at the Darfield Hotel, the link is to their menu! If you are travelling from Christchurch to the West Coast, and want a nice meal, I can recommend it!!

Exhibition page.
I have put together a page of photos and information about the work that is in the exhibition. You should find a tab at the top of my blog to take you to this, but I will attempt to put a link to my  "Out of the Fire" Selwyn Gallery Exhibition here.

The Selwyn Gallery, Darfield is open 10am - 4 pm 6 days a week, Tuesday to Sunday. My exhibition runs until 4 December, as does that of Judy Rogers.


Linda Starr said...

congrats on your exhibition; love your new pots and what a wonderful drive, felt as if I was going along with you, that gorge is awe inspiring the water looks turquoise.

smartcat said...

Your glazes are always evolving; just when I think you have gone as far as you can BAM! there's another breath taking group of pots. All of which make for a dynamic show!
Thanks for the tour. New Zealand is definitely on my bucket list!

Michèle Hastings said...

Congratulations on the exhibition! The work looks fabulous. Thank you for taking us on the road trip with you. Those are some spectacular views. Just what I needed today, since it seems like we haven't seen the sun much in over two weeks.

Melissa Rohrer said...

Thanks for taking us on the scenic tour. I agree that the table and cloth were a good solution for your pieces. Congratulations on your exhibition!

Peter's Dad said...

Beautiful work Peter; so rewarding after the crazy hours you've spent creating them.
Your conducted journey literally gorgeous! and your very informative description of each item well worth a long browse, once I found where the tab was (worth putting one at the end?). Clicking on each individual pot was rewarding too - I'm glad you mentioned it to me on the phone this morning!

Peter said...

Hi Linda,
So pleased to be able to share the adventure with you! The water really is turquoise, several of the rivers that begin in the Southern Alps of New Zealand are. I suspect it might be to do with fine sediment carried by the water that is the result of glaciers grinding away at rock in the mountains, but I could be wrong!

Hi Smartcat,
Thank you for the encouragement! I keep realising just how much more there is to discover and get better at with these glazes... they are endlessly frustrating and fascinating!

Hi Michèle,
Glad to bring some sunshine! Perpetual grey cloud, high humidity, and rain forever... can certainly dampen more than just the world outside! Hope that you get some real sunshine and warmth soon!

Hi Melissa,
I loved the little table and the cloth, I was so lucky to be able to use them.

Good Morning Dad!
Thank you for kind words and the suggestion regarding putting a "tab" on the end, I have done a little edit and have put a link to the page about the exhibition towards the end of this post, I hope it works for everyone!

Anna said...

congratulations on a marvellous display of your pots... some great crystalline happenings there... I'll be 12 months too late to see it... I'll be travelling to the North Island next year.. perhaps you will have another show on then.

Anonymous said...

Looks fabulous, from the travel to the showplace. Good luck for your show!

Peter said...

Hi Anna,
Thank you for your kind words. It would be fun if your NZ travels and a show could coincide..., you never know!

Hi Anonymous,
Thank you for writing in and for your good wishes.

Anonymous said...

I''m just catching up with blog reading after being away on a meditation retreat. Thanks for the great travel photos - what amazing scenery. Congratulations on your exhibition too. I've done a bit of crystalline glaze stuff and know how unpredictable it can be. We moved only 5 miles down the road and my favourite glaze stopped working - turned out the water is harder here and it works fine if I mix it with rainwater. That took me a year to work out! I hope the exhibition has been a great success.

Peter said...

Hello Mike,
Very nice to hear from you, glad you enjoyed the travel photos! I was interested by the problem you had with tap water and glazes, I have certainly read of crystalline glazers who will only use rain water because of "hard" water problems. I can well understand how it took you a year to work out as there are so many variables with glazing, and one doesn't always blame the right one!!
The exhibition is running until 4th December, so a bit of time to go before I really know if I will be dancing in the street, or cultivating a stiff upper lip! However it is nice to have got a body of work together and to have it on display somewhere. I have also enjoyed meeting the gallery staff too, all good people!